NAA announced the winners of its first "Top 30 Under 30" Awards program at NAA mediaXchange 2016 in April, which honors young leaders working in every aspect of the news media who are contributing to the future success of the industry. Over the next several weeks we will feature profiles on the winners, highlighting their work and ideas, and how they're helping the industry grow and evolve.
Clifford Parody is old school. He doesn’t own a Kindle. He still has cassette tapes and vinyl records.
“I don’t want to see print die,” he says. “I don’t want to see it go away. It’s a big part of who we are as humans.”
Parody works as a reporter for The Ledger. He grew up obsessed with reading, his nose constantly buried in books and newspapers.
“I’ve always had a thing for print,” he says.
He began freelancing after school and now says he can’t imagine doing anything but writing.
Parody fights very hard against the misconception that print is dying. He doesn’t want a world without newspapers.
“[Print] is a big part of who we are as humans,” he says.
He works the cops beat for The Ledger, but splits his time general assignments. His days are varied, sometimes on the phone, sometimes in a stranger’s kitchen, petting a full grown puma.
“There’s no day to day, and that is one of the things I love about having this job,” he says.
He likes to try new and different things.
“I want to keep myself busy and entertained; I don’t know if that comes with my age or just who I am,” he says. “I’m not going to become complacent, especially in journalism and media right now. Everything is changing really rapidly; I’m trying to stay ahead and up. It’s advantageous to avoid complacency.”
He admits he’s still learning social media. He says journalists in today’s environment can’t just write, they have to write, take photos, shoot and edit video and build a social media presence.
“Expect to know how to do everything and do everything well,” he says.
Lenore Devore, editor of The Ledger, nominated Parody for this award. She wrote “Parody isn’t afraid of the big story, or getting his feet dirty on a story.”
He did a whole series on untested rape kits. He was driving and heard an NPR segment about Rachel Dissell, a reporter in Ohio for the The Plain Dealer. He pulled over and called the sheriff’s department to see if there was a similar interest locally.
He has spent over a year on the project. He is just beginning to see changes and development, the fruits of his labor. He says he is inspired by the women who are maintaining their fight. He has gotten cease and desist letters for his efforts though.
“When you’ve pissed off the people in power, you’re usually doing a good job,” he laughs.